After the massive intervention called TARP, Devine noted the program's inspector general Neil Barofsky concluded that the federal response was not at all carefully considered and scientific. Referring to the $45 billion bailout of Citigroup, Barofsky wrote, the "consensus appeared to be based as much on gut instinct and fear of the unknown as on objective criteria." Liberals joke about the "magic of the marketplace" as a fanciful concept, but why should anyone have faith in the "magic" of aggressively political management of the economy?
Amazingly, political leaders just keep demanding more of the same old overspending and the dead hand of bureaucracy. Devine argues this progressive faith in the state's pseudo-scientific "solutions" has obscured "the secret of America's success: the Constitution's capacity to harmonize the twin ideals of freedom and tradition."
Devine argues that the country needs both the dynamism of freedom and the roots of tradition, and a balance of these two ideals has been the "source of America's historic creativity and prosperity." Combining the traditionalist and libertarian strains of political philosophy isn't just a calculated plan of Reaganite coalition building against the statists. Both traditions need each other and support each other. He argues that just as Frank Meyer's "fusionism" with the traditionalists around William F. Buckley Jr. led to the conservative revival in the 1960s, constructing a new synergy and harmony between freedom and tradition will revive our future today.
America's Way Back reminds us that Ronald Reagan didn't despise government. He cherished a government restrained by the Constitution and the electorate. Devine reminds us that Reagan didn't merely believe that government was the problem. He maintained that the rapid growth of government "shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed." He wanted the federal government to recognize that the 10th Amendment empowers the states, not Washington.
"It is not my intention to do away with government," Reagan proclaimed. "It is rather to make it work -- work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back." Americans were citizens, not subjects.
Reagan had a heckuva lieutenant in Don Devine. It is good to see him now mentoring the next generation of conservative leaders.